A legal investment contract protects the investor’s financial and future return on investment.
An investment contract lawyer is an experienced financial lawyer who helps clients secure legally binding, protected investments.
Lawyers for investment contracts adhere to the strict protocol and legal proceedings that outline all investment contracts under The Securities Act of 1933. They ensure that an investor’s money is not misappropriated and that their contribution to a company or other party counts as a legal investment.
Here is an article that defines investments in contracts related to annuities.
What Does a Lawyer Do for an Investment Contract?
An investment contract lawyer drafts, reviews, and manages clients’ legal documents for various investments.
An investment contract itself can include many types of documents. In business and the court, investment has a specific definition that constitutes the requirement of a legal contract.
To be recognized as lawful and legitimate, an investment must be provided as a lump sum of money to an entity in exchange for benefits, with the expectation of future profit. This future profit is referred to as the return on investment, or ROI.
The profit in an investment contract can vary. Some are direct, e.g., a portion of a company’s revenue, or indirect, e.g., tax benefits.
An investment contract's most important distinguishing factor is that the investor does not partake in the business. Their investment can facilitate a company’s growth, but they do not personally involve themselves in its operations.
Because they are so diverse, investment contracts come in many forms and have unique provisions. However, some common terms you are likely to see in any investment contract are:
- Investor – The person investing money into a company for future profit.
- Shareholder. Someone who owns a portion of a company through shares. Investors can also become shareholders.
- Investment. The monetary amount that an investor provides to a company to receive benefits at a later period.
- Recitals. Details about the investment that will be made and any other important factors relating to the investment agreement.
- Agreements. All the terms and conditions within the investment contract outline the deal between the investor and the company.
- Restrictions. Limitations of the investor within the company relating to ownership.
- Milestones. Benchmarks that the investor and company agree upon. Each milestone must be agreed upon before the next investment phase can proceed.
- Confidentiality agreement . A provision in which both parties agree that the details of their investment agreement will remain confidential and that no information will be disclosed to third parties.
Here is an article with ContractsCounsel’s guide to investment contracts, including more key terms and examples.
How Much Does an Investment Contract Cost?
The average investment contract cost varies significantly by each agreement. This is because the type of investment, the amount of money being invested, and the terms and conditions involved all influence the price of the final document.
A lawyer for investment contract services will likely charge an hourly fee. However, hourly rates for attorneys vary, and they may require a retainer ahead of time. A retainer agreement helps lawyers secure their payment for a project.
ContractsCounsel’s marketplace reveals that the average cost of a project involving an investment contract is $575.
Suppose you are unsure what type of contract you need or what provisions to include for legal validity. In that case, consulting with a lawyer for an investment contract is the best solution.
Here is an article with free investment contract templates you can review to understand what type of documents you need.
Types of Investment Contracts
Here is an overview of the most common types of investment contracts and what they entail.
1. Convertible Note
A convertible note is a type of startup investment for companies in their initial stages of capital funding. They do not require company valuation, so they are a common way for startups to raise capital early in their business.
The convertible note cost varies. When someone invests with a convertible note, the startup will eventually have to repay their principal investment plus interest.
2. Stock Purchase Agreement
Buying stocks directly from a company is often more complex than purchasing them through the stock market. As a result, many people who want to go this route use a lawyer to draft a stock purchase agreement.
People who purchase stock in a company become shareholders, so a stock purchase agreement can also be known as a share purchase agreement (SPA). Sometimes, employees are offered stock purchase agreements as part of their employment contracts.
3. Equity Purchase Agreement
An equity agreement requires an equity commitment letter in cases of private equity buyouts. For example, suppose a shareholder sells their stock or shares in a company to another shareholder or third party. In that case, they will use an equity purchase agreement.
Not to be confused with an asset purchase, an equity agreement grants the buyer ownership of the actual company.
4. Restricted Stock Agreement
A restricted stock agreement has built-in provisions that limit the investor from taking equity ownership unless certain circumstances or events transpire.
Restricted stock agreements are common among companies that allow employees to purchase shares. They will only be able to receive their shares or purchase shares at an exclusive rate after they meet certain benchmarks, whether that be time periods or performance metrics.
5. Commission Agreements
Commission agreements, also known as a portion of revenue agreements, entitle the investor to a fixed percentage of the company’s profits. Unlike stock or share investments, where the investor owns a portion of the company, the investor has no equity in a commission agreement.
The exact limit of how long an investor can collect commission is left to the company’s discretion. However, no statutes of limitations restrict the amount of time an investor can collect a portion of revenue, so using the appropriate legal provisions is important.
Here is an article with examples of investment agreements and key details to include in them.
Do I Need a Lawyer for an Investment Contract?
Legal investment contracts must adhere to The Securities Act of 1933. Without following the necessary legal steps, an investment is not legally enforceable. This means that a company is not obligated to fulfill its end of an agreement that does not adhere to the law.
The Securities Act of 1933 protects investors’ money and prevents security fraud. In investment, security is an exchangeable (fungible) asset with monetary value. Examples of investment securities include equity and debt.
Depending on your investment type, your contract will need a specialized format and terms and conditions to protect your investment. Likewise, investment contracts written by lawyers prevent investors from leveraging unfair advantages over companies and other entities.
Working with a lawyer can help you determine what type of investment contract you need and what types of provisions to include. They can also advise you on negotiable terms and help you get the best deal for your investment.
Companies that have received an investment offer can also consult with a lawyer to draft an investment contract. This contract can entice the investor while still securing the company’s best interests.
Here is an article with more information about financial securities.
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